Student convocation ceremony stresses individuality and perseverance to incoming students
Students filled McGuirk Arena Saturday for the inaugural New Student Convocation Ceremony, during which administration and faculty welcomed new faces to campus.
The event served as an endnote to the pre-fall semester festivities for incoming students who had the opportunity to attend Leadership Safari and other programs to familiarize students with campus. Speakers included Provost Michael Gealt, alumnus Mike Zeig and President George Ross.
Gealt emphasized the importance of the journey of self discovery students will take at Central Michigan University.
“Over the next four years you will write an introduction to the story of your adult life, one page at a time,” he said. “Your story will set you apart (and) your quest for knowledge and experiences here at CMU will transform who you are.”
Gealt encouraged students to get out of their comfort zones and try things that will expand their knowledge and awareness of the world. Through this, he said, their experiences would help to differentiate students from one another.
“We are a family made up of all races, genders, sexual orientations and religions” he said. “I encourage you to take the time to meet and learn from each other to prepare for your career in a global society.”
Fellow speaker Kelly Murphy, a psychology and religion faculty member, told her story of her first year in college and the nerves that she faced.
“If you find yourself in the coming weeks or months feeling lost, seek out your professors this semester,” she said. “If you’re struggling in a class, make an appointment to talk to your professor during their office hours. Know professors are real people and they want you to succeed.”
“Please remember how excited, inspired and fired up the faculty are to learn with you and from you.”
Port Huron freshman Angelica Finnesy said she felt inspired following the ceremony. She said she found the faculty and staff speeches relatable, especially those who emphasized their own time as freshmen.
Finnesy said the ceremony helped her feel more comfortable at CMU.
“I got out of (convocation knowing) it’s OK to fail, as long as you keep going,” she said.
Alumnus Mike Zeig delivered the keynote address, where he congratulated students on their new independence and offered them a few pieces of advice.
He emphasized to students attending a university is a privilege and said it was important to take advantage of the opportunities offered on campus. Zeig also said students should look out for one another and be helpful to each other.
“Do not allow a fear of failure to prevent you from realizing your dreams,” he said, “Dream big in your time at CMU. You’ll never have as much freedom to dream and explore as you’ll have in these next four years.”
President George Ross concluded the ceremony by noting the specialty of this year’s class, the 125th class to attend CMU.
President Ross said the greatest advice he could give is to remember the reason for attending a university: to learn.
"Your academic success is why you’re here," Ross said. "When you say 'fire up chips,' it should be firing up for academic success and academic excellence.”